Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Whose badge is it anyway?

My previous blog post about the White Boars and White and Tudor Roses carved into the medieval screen in the church near my studio, sparked off an interesting conversation on Twitter about whether these may be the badges of Richard III. We decided probably not BUT the carvings are late 15th Century and they are most likely the badges of a powerful family.

A document was unearthed which suggested a link with the Vere family, the Earls of Oxford who also had a Boar as one of the Supporters (beasts holding the shield) of their Coat of Arms. The document also mentioned that "the de Vere Mullet" was depicted on the North Aisle roof. 

I went to look . . .

There it is! 
A five pointed star or 'Mullet' in heraldic terms, right over the North Aisle Altar.

Another sort of star with roses (?)

A lovely Tudor Rose

And an Eagle . . .

there are more Eagles on the screen I blogged about yesterday.

But it is on the Font that I found de Vere symbols aplenty!

A Mullet

A Rose
Red or White? I'm sure someone will know!

**update: apparently the de Vere family were on the Lancastrian side so the roses would be red**

The shields were once probably painted in the correct heraldic colours.

Another Mullet, this one is six pointed which might be an earlier version of the de Vere badge.

The de Vere family were hugely important landowners in the Stour Valley (now the Suffolk/Essex border) so is isn't surprising they put their mark on our village church.

I wondered if there was ever confusion about whose badge one was wearing, like football teams that wear the same colour strip . . . is that Richard's White Boar or the de Vere Blue Boar? Is he friend of foe? 

The danger of mistaking one star shaped badge for another was all too evident at the Battle of Barnet in 1471. The Earl of Oxford's army wearing the de Vere Mullet rode through the early morning mist towards their ally Warwick the Kingmaker's troops who mistook the white star badges for the 'Rose en Soleil' (a white rose with sun rays) badges of their enemy Edward IV! Earl Warwick's men charged, the Earl of Oxford fled, in the aftermath Warwick the Kingmaker was felled from his horse and killed and the house of Lancaster's demise was sealed  . . . the course of English history had changed for ever.
(more info here and here)

If you like history and solving puzzles I can recommend wandering in to a local church and then asking Twitter* to help with the research.


*Thank you to @manx_maid, @debmarson and @JonathanFoyle for pointing me towards the de Veres.


  1. This is fascinating! I've wondered about how often badges and shields might have been mistaken, as well. In my imagination, those wearing the badges had a keener sense for discerning between motifs, but I suppose it was not so in reality!

  2. Celia, how fortunate I am to know you, and to be able to visit your brilliant posts...on so many topics.

    As Clare as already commented, it is fascinating to see what your previous post and this one have allowed me to know. Perhaps when I next get across to the UK, you might show me this church?

    On a day when the international news is filled with variations of horrible developments, there is something very, very encouraging about retaining an interest in anonymously credited creations that still speak to us after many centuries...in a positive way.


  3. What a refreshing post this is, thank you so much for taking the time to share your findings with us Celia. Yours must be a very richly decorated Church.

  4. This is fascinating... Makes me want to go up and look more closely around our church right now!


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